This is one of our favorite Fall dishes. The risotto is mild, creamy, and lightly spiced with the nutty flavor of pumpkin. The roasted butternut squash gives the dish a burst of sweetness and flavor—and the squash is a great substitute for meat, as it’s hearty, chunky and downright delicious. However, for you meat-lovers out there, we love to add some crumbled and browned spicy sausage to the top—the sweet and spicy combination is incredible!
Our favorite thing is to make this and serve it in mini pumpkins for Halloween soirées. You can arrange the pumpkins on a platter with tiny spoons inside them—perfect for eating while mingling! Plus, it’s a great way to get your children to eat healthy squash—what kid wouldn’t want to eat pumpkin inside a pumpkin?
This risotto is also great to keep in mind year-round as a vegetarian option for your guests—you can lose the mini pumpkin serving dish if you find it too Halloween-y!
For the squash:
1 Butternut Squash
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp chili flakes
2 sage leaves
Salt & Pepper to taste
For the risotto:
2 tbsp salted butter
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp garlic salt
3 sage leaves
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 large container chicken or vegetable stock (32oz/ about 5 cups)
1 cup pumpkin purée (no spices added, NOT pumpkin pie filling)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp heavy cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
For the squash:
- Preheat your oven to 400˚
- Skin the butternut squash with a potato peeler, or slice off the skin with a knife.
- Cut the butternut squash in half and remove all the seeds.
- Chop the butternut squash into bitesize skinless cubes.
- Arrange the cubes in a large baking dish and toss with the olive oil, chili, sage, salt, pepper and cinnamon.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes until tender but still firm.
For the risotto:
- Put the stock into a small saucepan and set over a medium-low heat. Keep the stock warm while cooking the risotto.
- Add the butter to a very large sauté pan over a medium-high heat.
- When melted, add the diced onions to the pan. Sauté the onions until translucent, about 3-4 minutes, but do not allow to burn.
- Add the dried basil, dried parsley, garlic salt and sage leaves to the dish.
- Add the minced garlic and Arborio rice to the pan and coat with the onions. Allow the rice to toast slightly, but not brown, about 1 minute.
- Add the wine to the pan and let it be absorbed by the rice, stirring continuously.
- Once the wine has absorbed, add 1 cup of the warm chicken stock to the risotto and 1 tbsp of pumpkin purée. Stir continuously until the stock and purée have absorbed.
- Repeat with all of the chicken stock, a ½ cup at a time, letting each ½ cup absorb before you add the next one. Add 1 tbsp of pumpkin purée at the same time as each cup of stock. Stir continuously.
- Once all of the chicken stock is absorbed, the risotto should be creamy and rich.
- Turn the heat down to low, and add the Parmesan, cream and cinnamon into the risotto. Stir until the cream and cheese is absorbed and combined completely.
- Add the salt and pepper, to taste.
- Remove the squash from the oven and mix the cubes of roasted squash into the risotto.
(6 mini pumpkins)
- Cut the tops off of your mini pumpkins.
- Scoop out the seeds and pulp from each pumpkin.
- Wash the inside and outside of each pumpkin thoroughly.
- Scoop pumpkin risotto with butternut squash cubes into each mini pumpkin.
- Top with a crack of black pepper and a sage leaf.
***To top with Spicy Sausage***
- Remove the casing from 4 spicy sausages
- Crumble the sausage meat into a small frying pan and drizzle a tsp of olive oil into the pan.
- Sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, until sausage is cooked through and browned.
- Crumble over the top of the risotto.